How do I choose between signing up for a class series vs an individual session? 

If you are looking for tips and pointers and a concrete approach for navigating tummy time woes, then the class setting may be perfect for you. In the 4th trimester series, we will discuss and master a clinically proven method and approach to tummy time that will reduce stress on you and on baby, increase connection between caregiver and baby AND connection within baby's own personal body systems, promote movement and development, promote optimal head shaping and GI motility, and be fun for everyone. This is also a great option for working through the recovery process after a tongue, lip, or buccal tie revision! We will review the healing process, stretching post revisions, and how movement and tummy time will increase the liklihood of success after these revisions! In addition to these topics, the 4th trimester class will provide a great opportunity to connect with other caregivers, discuss appropriate toys, use of devices, babywearing, car seat safety, and typical development over the first year, among other things! 

If you are more concerned about a specific issue your baby is having like developing a flat spot on the head (plagiocephaly) or inability to turn one way or the other or always being positioned tilted to one side in a car seat or other device (possibly torticollis), or a delay in some early milestones like rolling or lifting arms and legs against gravity or head control, then a one on one session may be more beneficial.

What is tummy time? 

The time a baby spends on his or her belly. The most beneficial set up for tummy time is flat on the floor, on a blanket, with caregiver present and on the floor to provide comfort and encouragement as well. There are lots of ways to achieve a tummy time position other than this though!  For example, when a baby is resting chest to chest on a caregiver, when baby is in the airplane position on a caregiver's forearm, when baby is lying across a caregiver's lap, or when baby is on their belly on a birth or therapy ball. 

Why do I need to do tummy time? 

In 1992, the recommendations of Back to Sleep went into effect. Since that time, there has been a large decrease in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but babies have also had considerable less time in the prone, or belly down position. The lack of time in the tummy down position has caused a large increase in the incidence of plagiocephaly (head molding issues or flat head syndrome) and torticollis (tight neck muscles). Focused, therapeutic tummy time while a baby is awake and supervised is imperative to decrease the incidence of these conditions as well as promote benefits of improved digestion, optimal recovery following tongue, lip or buccal tie revisions, and overall balanced musculoskeletal development. 

When do I need to start tummy time? 

Tummy time should be started on the first day of life. I love giving baby the experience of at least one session on the floor even from this time, but working on tummy time with baby chest to chest with a caregiver for the first 2-4 weeks of life will give benefits of bonding with baby and will prove to be more tolerated most likely. 

How much tummy time does my baby need? 

I recommend baby have experience on his or her belly multiple times every day. I do not focus as much on the time they spend there, but the quality of the time they spend there. I also recommend watching and listening to baby's cues for how long baby is happy in tummy time. One day, he or she may last 10 seconds, other days, he or she may last 5 minutes. The goal is to have an overall trend of increased QUALITY TIME in tummy time. 

How does tummy time benefit my baby? 

Not only does being in the tummy down position help increase the strength of the neck, shoulder, and back muscles, but it can also decrease the liklihood of delayed motor skills and developing a tight neck or flat head syndrome. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends a back to sleep, tummy to play sequence as well.  With the back to sleep campaign, we must also remember to balance that time with tummy to play! 

What if my baby "hates" tummy time?

Tummy time is hard! Your baby has to work very hard to raise his or her head from the ground or surface when they are on their belly, so it is understandable that he or she may struggle! A baby's head is the largest part of their body and to raise it against gravity with muscles that have never had to work before is asking alot. However, it is necessary work and will get better with practice and patience and with some intentional, therapeutic tummy time! I would love to help guide you on this path to help you AND your baby learn to LOVE and be successful with tummy time! 

How do I know if my baby has a flat head (plagiocephaly) or other head molding issues?

The best way to tell is to look down on your baby's head from a bird's eye view. This can be done through propping your baby on your lap and looking down, or through lying baby on his or her back on a bed and bending down to look at the top of his or her head straight on. A baby's head should have a symmetrical oval shape. If you feel like your baby has a flat spot on the back or left or right that causes the head to not look symmetrical or if your baby's head looks long and thin, please reach out for a second opinion! 

How do I know if my baby has a twisted neck (torticollis)?

A baby should be able to turn his or her head completely to the left and to the right and be able to hold that position equal time each way. This is true for when he or she is on his or her back or his or her belly. If your baby sleeps always turned to one side, is positioned in his or her car seat or swing or bouncy always turned to the same side, and/or seems to have difficulty turning his or her head the other way and holding that position, a consult may be indicated. 

What do I do if I suspect my baby has plagiocephaly or torticollis? 

The best thing to do if you suspect your baby has a head molding issue, tight neck muscles, decreased tolerance to tummy time, or could be delayed in gross motor skills, is to schedule a consult appointment for an assessment of these issues. Scheduling can be done by calling Kelly Kremer PT, DPT at 502-727-0271 or emailing at kellykremerpt@gmail.com. 

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